Most parents recognize the importance of Black History Month and understand why we should be putting in the extra effort to teach our kids more about historic Black figures as well as about the struggles, perspectives, accomplishments, advancements and contributions of Black Americans—including Afro-Latinx individuals—of the past as well as of today, but it honestly seems like such a massive task. We know so much more now than we did growing up, and with that comes the responsibility of bringing our kids’ educations beyond the classroom, because it is abundantly clear that when it comes to certain topics, school just isn’t enough.
Thankfully, we are living in the age of online media and virtual learning and there are tons of excellent resources to help us teach our kids about Black History Month and expose to them to the stories of Black Americans throughout history in February and every other month of the year, right at our fingertips. Here are our favorite Black History Month resources that are informative, accurate, easy-to-use and fun:
One of our favorite Black History Month resources for pre-schoolers and lower elementary-aged children is the Crayola Web site. The site features hundreds of free coloring pages, including many of historic figures. During Black History month, it’s super-easy to print out a bunch of the coloring sheets, all of which feature bite-sized bios of the historic figures that you can read to your kids. It’s all age-appropriate and an excellent introduction for younger kids.
If your kids are older, say middle school or high school age depending on their maturity level, TED talks can be an excellent Black History Month resource. An entire Black History Month playlist featuring talks by notable Black figures in a variety of fields is available completely free on the TED Web site. Most of the talks are just 15 to 20 minutes in length and offer incredible insights from inspiring individuals.
PBS is an invaluable source of information for parents and children and features a treasure trove of Black History Month Resources. We are particularly fond of the PBS YouTube channel, but the PBS Web site is also excellent. Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. has worked with PBS on a number of resources including an excellent series titled Black in Latin America, that is available for free on the PBS Web site, as well as a newer series titled Finding Your Roots, both of which would be ideal for older children and teens.
There are tons and tons of absolutely free Black History Month printables and worksheets available online. A quick Google or Pinterest search will yield a slew of results that will help get your kids off the screens and engaged in the learning process. From crossword puzzles to journal prompts and everything in between there’s something for every age group. We like this Black History Month printables set from Thought.Co as well as the resources available on Teachers Pay Teachers. On the TPT Web site, just search for Black History Month and filter by age and price.
National Geographic Kids
The National Geographic Kids Web site and YouTube channel both offer historically accurate and culturally sensitive information on many notable Black figures, designed to be easily digestible for young kids. Check out the “African American Heroes” series on their Web site, for fast facts and short bios on notable figures including engineer Mark E. Dean and astronaut Mae C. Jemison.
Smithsonian runs the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington D.C. which should be a must-visit for all Americans if you ask us, but if you can’t get to D.C., you and your kids can take a virtual tour of the museum on the Smithsonian Web site. The virtual tour is interactive and highlights the work of the Black designer and architect that worked on the building, David Adjaye and Phil Freelon.
The Poetry Foundation, which is based in Chicago, features an exhaustive collection of works by Black poets on their Web site. Many young children truly enjoy the rhythms and cadence of poetry and will often make important connections through it. Works by poets including Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Elizabeth Alexander, and many others are available for free via the Poetry Foundation.
Inspired by the Black and Latinx culture that began in New York City in the 1970s and in modern times has influenced the entire country, Flocabulary is an incredible virtual learning resource that helps children learn, practice and improve academic skills through hip-hop-inspired videos and activities. The site features an excellent lesson plan on the Civil Rights movement, that would be ideal for Black History Month education.
Epic! is a super-popular app and Web site that is often utilized by school district’s and individual teachers to help children access a wide variety of e-books an other learning resources, and they have gone all in for Black History Month. Access does require a paid subscription, but it’s affordable and a 30-day free trial is available for families. Alternately, check with your child’s teacher, they may already have access via school subscription.
We absolutely love the LoveTeachBless account on Instagram, particularly because educator Nita Creekmore uses her page to promote children’s literature featuring Black characters not just during Black History Month, but always. The Instagram account is brimming with Black history content from a video to help kids learn the Black National Anthem to inspirational quotes from notable Black figures throughout history.